Presented on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 in the Barn at Quarry Farm. Mark Twain's works, just like Mark Twain himself, have been favorite sources of adaptation in American popular culture - in films, television, radio, and comic books. Except for the Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn novels, the most frequent work to be adapted to the film medium and television has been A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
Professor Inge will survey several film versions of Hank Morgan as portrayed by Will Rogers (1931), Bing Crosby (1949), Thomas Mitchell (1952), Bugs Bunny (1977), Paul Rudd (1978), Dennis Duggan (1979), and even a black child actress, Keshia Knight Pulliam (1989). He will discuss why this particular novel has attracted so many film producers, how Hank Morgan has been interpreted through six decades, and what this tells us about the continuing influence and relevance of the Yankee from Connecticut.
M.Thomas Inge is the Blackwell Professor of Humanities at Randolph-Macon College. He is the author or editor of over 50 books, including Will Eisner: Conversations (University Press of Mississippi), a collection of interviews with the master comic-book artist and creator of the graphic novel. He co-edited, in collaboration with Czech scholar Marcel Arbeit, The (Un)Popular South (Palacky University, Czech Republic), with essays on the South in popular culture by 10 international critics, including Inge's "Walt Disney's Racial Dilemma in Song of the South." He also edited My Life with Charlie Brown (University Press of Mississippi), which analyzes the life and work of "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz.